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Amtrak to New Buffalo, 2 Michigan colleges taking bikes for a ride

BLUE WATER LINE BECOMING BIKE-FRIENDLY

Amtrak travelers to Michigan’s Harbor Country as well as college kids heading to Michigan State or Western Michigan University will soon be able to store a bike on their train for use when they hit their destination.

Starting Sep. 6, Amtrak’s Blue Water line (Trains 364 and 365) will begin offering storage areas for bikes, for an extra $10 fee, Amtrak announced in a news release Thursday.

The line starts in Chicago and includes stops in beach-laden New Buffalo, Mi; Kalamazoo, home to Western Michigan University; and East Lansing, home to Michigan State University, before ending at Port Huron Michigan daily.

Amtrak news release is below:

***********

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 29, 2013

ATK-13-094

Amtrak Contact: Marc Magliari

312 544.5390

MDOT Contact: Nick Schirripa

269 337.3927

AMTRAK AND MDOT WELCOME BICYCLISTS TO MICHIGAN BLUE WATER TRAINS;

Bikes carried on Port Huron-Lansing-Chicago route in September

CHICAGO and LANSING – Starting Sept. 6, bicycles will be accepted aboard the Amtrak Blue Water (Trains 364 & 365), a service sponsored by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) that operates daily between Port Huron and Chicago via East Lansing and Kalamazoo.

Uniquely in the Midwest, railcars on the Blue Water have been modified to create an area to securely carry up to four bikes per train on a popular route that serves two large state universities (Michigan State and Western Michigan) and several bicycle-friendly communities. There is a $10 charge for transporting a bike, in addition to the railfare, and cyclists are encouraged to lock their bikes onto the brackets mounted in the café cars when they walk their bicycles on the trains.

“We’ve worked with the cycling community to modify these railcars so bikes can be secured without disassembly,” said Derrick James, Amtrak Director of Government Affairs-Central and an avid cyclist who is one of the Amtrak liaisons to the cycling community. “We look forward to measuring the success of this service with an eye to expansion to additional routes across our national network.”

“Bicycle travel and tourism is important in the state of Michigan,” said Tim Hoeffner, director of the MDOT Office of Rail. “Amtrak inclusion of bike service on Blue Water trains is beneficial for Michigan travelers.”

Amtrak services in the Chicago Hub also welcome walk-on bikes on routes in Illinois and Missouri in unmodified railcars. For more information, visit Amtrak.com.

About Amtrak®

Amtrak is America’s Railroad®, the nation’s intercity passenger rail service and its high-speed rail operator. A record 31.2 million passengers traveled on Amtrak in FY 2012 on more than 300 daily trains – at speeds up to 150 mph (241 kph) – that connect 46 states, the District of Columbia and three Canadian Provinces. Amtrak operates intercity trains in partnership with 15 states and contracts with 13 commuter rail agencies to provide a variety of services. Enjoy the journey® at Amtrak.com or call 800-USA-RAIL for schedules, fares and more information. Join us on facebook.com/Amtrak and follow us at twitter.com/Amtrak.

About MDOT

The goal of the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is to provide the highest quality integrated transportation services for economic benefit and improved quality of life. MDOT has direct jurisdiction over Michigan’s nearly 10,000-mile highway system, comprised of all Interstate, state, and U.S. routes. The state also owns 4,704 highway, railroad and pedestrian bridges, 655 miles of railroad track (which is managed by private operators including Amtrak), 103 miles of nonmotorized trails and four airports. For more information, visit www.michigan.gov/mdot.